In watching different clips of the timer on several of the Season 2 episodes, I would like to throw something out to you guys to discuss.
From the film, the narrator states that every 108 minutes, a team should press the button because it's protocol. We noticed that the lostaways in the hatch felt differently about if they should or should not press the 'execute' .
1. Locke wanted to press the button, clearly
2. Jack did NOT want to press it
3. Sayid didn't seem to care and said lets push it
4. Hurley did not want to go through with it until he saw an incorrect code
5. Not sure on Kate
Based on the B.F. Skinner reference and his work with Operant Conditioning as well as a few other loose theories, I'd like to propose the following.
This article at the following link states:
The fixed ratio schedule was the first one Skinner discovered: If the rat presses the pedal three times, say, he gets a goodie. Or five times. Or twenty times. Or “x” times. There is a fixed ratio between behaviors and reinforcers: 3 to 1, 5 to 1, 20 to 1, etc. This is a little like “piece rate” in the clothing manufacturing industry: You get paid so much for so many shirts.
The fixed interval schedule uses a timing device of some sort. If the rat presses the bar at least once during a particular stretch of time (say 20 seconds), then he gets a goodie. If he fails to do so, he doesn’t get a goodie. But even if he hits that bar a hundred times during that 20 seconds, he still only gets one goodie! One strange thing that happens is that the rats tend to “pace” themselves: They slow down the rate of their behavior right after the reinforcer, and speed up when the time for it gets close.
Skinner also looked at variable schedules. Variable ratio means you change the “x” each time -- first it takes 3 presses to get a goodie, then 10, then 1, then 7 and so on. Variable interval means you keep changing the time period -- first 20 seconds, then 5, then 35, then 10 and so on.
In both cases, it keeps the rats on their rat toes. With the variable interval schedule, they no longer “pace” themselves, because they no can no longer establish a “rhythm” between behavior and reward. Most importantly, these schedules are very resistant to extinction. It makes sense, if you think about it. If you haven’t gotten a reinforcer for a while, well, it could just be that you are at a particularly “bad” ratio or interval! Just one more bar press, maybe this’ll be the one!
I notice the 'variable rate' and wonder if that is what they are actually experiencing down in the hatch. Start counting down from one of several points once the code has been input and the execute button was pressed (if you start when the button is pressed versus the number rollback occurs doesn't matter). The amount of time is far less than one minute, and closer to half of a minute (I counted around 33 seconds from when the numbers reset) before the timer flips to 107.
Originally I was wondering "what if it's not 108 minutes, it's days, or UNITS". After seeing how quickly it went from 108 to 107.....it makes me wonder if part of the supposed experiment is to vary the time and see what behavior ensues.
My take is that the timer is not an actual countdown of 108 minutes every time, rather it DOES count down from 108, but at different intervals. Anyone have any takes on this theory?
I figure this thread belonged in this forum, however if it belongs in a speculation area please move it accordingly.